At this stage, you’re either on the Pokémon GO bandwagon, think the bandwagon is childish and antisocial (AKA in denial about how fun the bandwagon really is), or about to jump on board.
While many of us are seasoned Pokémon veterans, there are others who have recently become interested in Pokémon GO thanks to the recent popularity of the game franchise. Either way, Pokémon GO differs greatly from the original games.
Whether you're a newbie who is just trying to figure out the basics of how to play the game, or if you're a more advanced player who is trying to figure out a faster way to hatch that rare egg, you'll find this article super helpful.
We’ve scoured the web to find the best tips and tricks for Pokémon trainers of every level. Check out the 15 Pokémon GO tips that will help you catch 'em all!
15 Everyone has a type
Great news for fans of the original Pokémon: The 151 Pokémon you’ll be able to catch in the game are from that generation. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to catch them all though, you’ll only be able to get certain Pokémon via eggs or by trading. Niantic has indicated that trading will be a huge part of the game. Reddit users have speculated that some Pokémon might be region locked to make sure players take advantage of the trading side of the game.
The type of Pokémon you catch depends on the area you’re hunting them in. When it comes to looking for specific types, use common sense: You’ll only be able to find water types near bodies of water. Urban areas will hold normal types and fields hold bug types. Water types can also be found when it’s raining but that doesn’t mean you should go running around in a thunderstorm looking for Zapdos.
If you live in the city and can only find Rattata, Pidgeys and Zubats, head for the nearest water source to find Poliwags, Psyducks, Magickarps and Goldeens. (TIP: It takes about 400 Magickarp candies to evolve it to Gyrados.)
While you’re on the hunt, look for Pokémon with multiple evolutions that will have higher CP potential.
Looking for a specific type? Here’s a list of areas you should explore.
Fire: Around gas stations and on sunny daysWater: Any bodies of water or on rainy daysThunder: Power stations Ground and rock: Drier areas (Players in Colorado are already complaining at the number of Geodudes they encounter on a daily basis.)Grass, bug & normal: Fields, green landscapesNormal: Urban areasGhost: Night time
14 And everyone starts somewhere
As with all Pokémon games, you’re able to pick your starter Pokémon at the beginning of the game. You can choose Squirtle, Charmander or Bulbasaur – which is great. Not so great? It’s difficult to find candies to evolve starter Pokémon after this stage. With other Pokémon, you can easily get candy by catching as many of Pokémon from the same evolutionary tree as possible and then transferring them to the Professor in exchange for candy. Since encountering starter Pokémon in the wild is rare, it’s not so easy to evolve your Charmander into Charizard.
To transfer a Pokémon, find it in your collection and scroll down until you see the transfer button.
Essentially the only way to get candies for starter Pokémon is by hatching eggs that contain starter Pokémon. It’s pretty easy to get these eggs since they’ll always be in the 2K eggs. Each type of egg can hatch different Pokémon and require you to travel different distances in order to hatch them. (More on this later.)
It’s probably already too late for this, but if you haven’t got the game yet and would like Pikachu, walk away from Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander when you first encounter them. The next Pokémon that shows up will be Pikachu.
13 Become an expert tracker
The full list of nearby Pokémon is a 3X3 grid of nine Pokémon. The top left is closest to you and the bottom right is the farthest. The more tracks there are under a Pokémon, the further away it is. Combine the grid information with the number of tracks to figure out which Pokémon is closest to you. E.g. If every Pokemon on your grid has three tracks underneath, the one at the top left is the closest. To track a single Pokémon, you can select it from the list.
The tab at the bottom right pulses as you’re moving, but not to indicate distance. When it pulses, it means that the list of nearby Pokémon is updating.
To find those tempting greyed-out uberPokémon
Make your radar full screen and start walking in one direction, if that Pokémon is closer to the bottom of the list and starts moving closer to the top, you know you’re going in the right direction. If it falls further down the list, you know you need to go in the opposite direction. If it’s getting closer and then suddenly drops down the list, go back to where it was closest to you and move in another direction. When a Pokémon has no tracks left underneath it, click on it and it should appear within the next 10 seconds.
Track prints vs. human footprints
(This is an estimate. If you’re one of those giant people with Husain Bolt type strides, you’ll have to adjust accordingly.)
1 print – 10 steps2 prints – 20 to 20 steps3 prints – 30 to 40 steps
12 Pokéstops everywhere!
If your game plan is to catch as many Pokémon as possible so that you can evolve your little monsters quickly, you’re going to need as many Pokéballs as you can get your hands on. You wouldn’t believe how quickly you can run out of them. TIP: Find a PokéStop near a coffee shop and sit there for half an hour, because PokéStops refresh every 5 to 10 minutes. Just keep spinning that disc!
If a PokéStop looks like Valentine’s Day vomited rose petals all over it, go to it! It means that some wonderful individual has setup a lure module at that location and Pokémon will be spawning like rabbits. Lure modules attract more Pokémon than Incense. You will also get items of higher value at stops where lure modules have been placed.
If you’re planning to be that wonderful individual, check the Pokéstop out before using your Pokécoins to buy a lure module. The last thing you want is to set it up and then only catch Zubats for half an hour.
You SHOULDN’T be playing Pokémon while you’re driving, but if you’re a passenger in a car and are passing by Pokéstops too quickly, click on them as you approach and wait until you hear the sound that says that it’s become active. Swipe quickly to get the disc spinning and then hit X as soon as it stops. You don’t actually have to pop the bubbles to get the items in them – they’ll automatically be added to your inventory.
It’s true that some Pokéstops are more notable than others – they correspond to real life landmarks. The more well known / famous the landmark it is, the better the items you’ll get from it. (Finally! A reason to live in DC!)
If you need to put some distance in to hatch eggs, a bike is the best way to go. You can drive around in your car, but it would have to be at walking pace. The whole point of the game is to GO, so unless you live in a city where biking isn’t a thing, yank out your old BMX and get pedalling. It’s all part of the fun anyway.
If you’re a passenger in a car, use Incense while you’re driving around. While you won’t be hatching any eggs, you will be attracting Pokémon and – since you’re covering longer distances – there’s a higher chance you’ll come across something great than there would be if you used incense while walking around.
Set a different route for yourself every time you head out. Aiming to reach specific locations will help you discover where certain Pokémon are and (hopefully) you’ll encounter new things whenever you head out in a new direction.
10 Even Team Rocket is pro-safety
These might seem obvious, but if you’re anything like us and have gotten caught up in the excitement of the hunt, you might need some reminding.
This is especially important for when you’re out in the sun on long tracking missions: Carry water! It’s no use spending the whole morning hunting Blastoise and then passing out from dehydration the moment you encounter him. A tip from a helpful Tumblr user: 1-quart Gatorade bottles have big enough tops for ice cubes. Take time out to rest – especially if you’re out in the sun.
It doesn’t matter how rare a Pokémon is – if it’s in a sketchy area, let it go. Where there are people having fun, there are others who will take advantage of them. Safety first. Always.
If you plan on going out on a hunt at night, only do it in a group. The more of you there are, the less likely it is that something bad will happen. Don’t go out there on your own and make sure that you’re always visible by wearing reflective clothing or attaching an LED light to your bike. To be extra safe – use the Companion app so that someone always knows where you are and that you’re getting home safe.
You should definitely carry some money with you – in case – but only keep small amounts on you or carry a debit/credit card instead.
Being aware of your surroundings means making sure that you’re not walking across roads without looking. It also means being aware of where you are – it’s easy to wander into a restricted area if you’re not paying attention. Look out for NO TRESPASSING signs.
Keep in mind that not everyone is in on the game and that – if they don’t know what you’re doing – your behavior could be alarming to those people. You shouldn’t have to worry about how to behave around the police, but you never know what situation you could find yourself in. If a policeman approaches you, be respectful, take the time to explain what you’re doing and show them the game. If you’re asked to leave, it’s best to just leave. Not even Mewtwo is worth taking on the police.
9 Catching Pokemon: An advanced version of Paper Toss
When it comes to catching Pokémon you already have, there are two strategies you could use:
The Pokéball saving strategyOnly catch one if its CP is higher than the one you already have or if you need candies to involve.
The Evolution is everything theoryCatch everything in sight so that you can collect as many candies as you can and evolve your Pokémon quickly. (You also get XP and Stardust for every Pokémon you catch.)
The best thing to do is keep an eye on how many Pokéballs you have and switch between the two strategies. If you know you’re not going to be near any Pokéstops for a while, focus on saving your Pokéballs for specific Pokémon. If you’re in an area with many Pokéstops, catch every Weedle that comes your way!
The ring around the Pokémon is important if you want extra experience points. When you’re facing a difficult to catch Pokémon, wait until the ring is as small as possible before throwing your Pokéball at it. This will increase the chance of capturing it. Do the opposite when you’re catching low CP or common Pokémon: Wait until the ring is at its biggest and then throw the Pokéball to get a ‘Nice’ or ‘Great’ catch and the extra XP that comes with them.
If you’ve had higher CP or rarer Pokémon escaping from a Pokéball (ARGH!), use a curveball. To do this, touch the Pokéball and move it in a circular swirling motion until it sparkles, then throw it. According to Tumblr users, there’s less chance of the Pokémon escaping if it’s caught by a curveball. It is harder to aim but if you’re worried about not catching that Scyther, give it a go. It will also give you more XP than a standard throw.Practice your technique on Pidgey first.
With rare or difficult to catch Pokémon, you might need to calm them down before attempting to catch them. You can use Razz Berries to achieve this, but you’ll only start getting them when your level gets higher.
8 To be the best, you have to have ... Pokéballs
There are different types of Pokéballs in the game. As you level up, you’ll be awarded with Ultra and Master Pokéballs. These work better in capturing rare/higher CP Pokémon that have the potential to escape a normal Pokéball.
You can’t just swipe in the general direction of a Pokémon and hope to catch it. (It wouldn’t be any fun if it was that easy.) You need to know how careful your throws should be before you waste any Pokéballs. Luckily the rings around the Pokémon change color based on how easy it is to catch.
A green ring means that it’s easy to catch so you’ll always catch a green Pokémon if you wait until the ring is at its smallest before you throw. To change the size of the ring, hold your finger over the Pokémon when it appears and the ring will shrink. This way, when you do toss your ball at it, it will almost always connect.
Orange and red rings mean that the Pokémon is more difficult to catch. If you have Razz Berries, use them on these types. If you don’t, you risk having them break out of their Pokéballs and you can easily waste balls trying to recapture them. Save your Great or Master Pokéballs for red Pokémon or higher CP orange ones. And good luck. They’re tricky little buggers.
7 Leveling up your Pokémon
There are two ways to grow Pokémon in the game. You can grow their strength by increasing their CP and HP – this is called Powering Up. Or you can evolve them into their upgraded next evolutionary stage. (For example: Magikarp will eventually become the legendary Gyarados.) When a Pokémon evolves, it increases their CP and will boost your player XP.
Stardust and Candy
In order to upgrade your Pokécreatures, you need two items:
Stardust – used to power upCandy – used to power up and evolve
You get Stardust whenever you catch Pokémon and, unlike candy, it can be used on any Pokémon. You need specific candy for each Pokémon, which you get whenever you catch one that belongs to the same evolutionary tree.
For leveling up, you need to keep an eye on Stardust levels, which you receive every time you catch a Pokémon. When you have enough Stardust, you’ll be able to power that little guy all the way up.
6 Evolving your Pokémon
The best bit of advice we’ve found when it comes to Pokémon evolution is to wait until your Pokémon’s stats are at their highest. This has to do with CP potential, because the longer you wait, the higher their evolved potential. To make sure you end up with the strongest possible version, pick only the strongest of them. If you have more than one of the same, choose the one with the highest CP. With the exception of the starter Pokémon Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, you’ll want to avoid evolving any Pokémon with a CP lower than 80. If you’re after a specific evolved form, keep catching that Pokémon until you find one that has the highest CP possible.
Rather than reviving or restoring a Pokémon with low health or one that’s fainted, wait until you can evolve it because – in addition to leveling up and getting you EXP – it will restore its health and you won’t have wasted potions or revives.
NOTE: Whenever you evolve a Pokémon, its moves will change. So if you’ve found a rare Pokémon with an extraordinary move, think carefully about whether it’s worth evolving it.
ANOTHER NOTE: You can’t just keep growing a Pokémon’s CP. Each one has a limit, which you can find by looking at the arch above the picture in its detailed profile. This is called CP Potential or CP-P. CP can’t go past the end of that arch. This means that some Pokémon will always have a low CP – even at their most powerful.
5 How about them eggs?
Collecting and hatching eggs is one of the most exciting aspects of Pokémon GO. It’s like those Kinder Surprise eggs – the chocolate is delicious but the toy is the real prize. You get eggs at Pokéstops and to hatch them you need to incubate them. Hey! It’s almost like this game is real life. JK. It’s the only way of life.
You’ll already find an incubator when you start the game, but it can only hold one egg at a time. To get incubators, you can buy them in the shop or receive them as rewards for leveling up.
You might want to save Pokécoins for incubators when you get 10K eggs because you’re almost guaranteed a rare or strong Pokémon from those eggs.
There are three types of eggs: 2K, 5K and 10K – each standing for the distance you’ll need to travel in order to hatch them. (Sorry, Americans. The Metric System is an actual thing. Everyone else in the universe uses it. Time to switch units on your FitBit.) You can only add distance if you’re traveling at low speeds, which means that driving won’t help you to hatch an egg. Unless you drive at granny pace and aren't afraid of looking sketchy.
4 What’s in them eggs?
The higher the KM required to hatch an egg, the rarer the egg is. 2K eggs are really common and – with the exception of starter Pokémon – contain Pokémon that you’ll encounter in the wild anyway.
2K Eggs will hatch:
• Bulbasaur• Charmander• Squirtle• Caterpie• Weedle• Pidgey• Geodude• Rattata• Spearow• Pikachu• Clefairy• Jigglypuff• Zubat• Magikarp
5K eggs are rarer than 2K eggs, but not as rare as 10K eggs. If you’re looking for a specific type of Pokémon, it’ll be difficult to get one because the possibilities of Pokémon from 5K eggs is the highest of all three egg types.
5K eggs will hatch:
• Ekans• Sandshrew• Nidoran (female)• Nidoran (male)• Vulpix• Oddish• Growlithe• Poliwag• Bellsprout• Tentacool• Magnemite• Farfetch’d• Grimer• Shellder• Krabby• Voltorb• Lickitung• Koffing• Kangaskhan• Horsea• Tauros• Paras• Venonat• Diglett• Meowth• Psyduck• Mankey• Abra• Machop• Ponyta• SlowPoké• Doduo• Seel• Gastly• Drowzee• Exeggcute• Cubone• Rhyhorn• Tangela• Goldeen• Staryu• Porygon
10K Eggs are the rarest in the game. Consider yourself lucky whenever you receive one because you’ll get one of these great Pokémon.
• Onix• Hitmonlee• Hitmonchan• Chansey• Mr. Mime• Scyther• Omanyte• Kabuto• Dratini• Jynx• Electabuzz• Magmar• Pinsir• Lapras• Evee• Aerodactyl• Snorlax
You’ll get your first Lucky Egg when you reach Level 9, but you should save it until you’re ready to evolve a whole lot of your Pokémon at the same time.
3 The boring (essential) technical stuff
There are tons of glitches and issues with the game, but that hasn’t prevented it from smashing Tinder off the app charts for most downloaded app. But before you get Pokémon-ing, there are a few tips and tricks that could help you deal with the issues. (Which we’re sure will be addressed in updates.)
Your game will crash. If you’re unlucky, it will crash just as you catch that stubborn Clefairy that would not stay in a Pokéball. Close the game via your task manager instead of opening and closing it – the game crashes more often if you use the latter method.
If the servers are down, it’s possible that your settings will be reset. You might have to turn Power Saver on again. You’ll know servers have gone apocalyptic if you open the game and have to select your login method.
If you’re hunting Pokémon and nothing is happening, restart the game. The list of nearby Pokémon should be changing all the time so if it isn't, the game has gone glitchy and you need to reopen it.
The battery saving option in the settings will dim your phone's screen when you turn it upside down but you'll still be moving in the game. Phones that have problems with AR will have problems with power save too so, if your phone falls into this category, it won't help you to turn it on.
When you're swiping upwards in crazy attempt to catch a Pokémon, you might accidentally pull up the iOS control center. iPhone users have reported that this has caused the game to crash, which is the last thing you want when you've just encountered the Growlithe you've been tracking for four hours. Enter your control center setttings and disable in-app use to avoid this issue.
Unlike many apps, Pokémon GO doesn't stop your phone from automatically screen locking. It also doesn't run in the background so, if you're looking to add miles but can't focus on the game properly, make sure you've disabled auto-screenlock.
Malls are a great place to go Pokehunting because they're normally Pokestops or gyms, have A/C, free WiFi and you'll run into a bunch of other players while you're there. They're also great places to set a lure module since you'll save data over the free wireless.
2 Level up quickly
You’ll need a Lucky Egg to make this work and you’ll find them as you play the game.
Catch every annoying Pidgey, Rattata and Weedle you come across and transfer them to the Professor straight away. You’ll rack up candies very quickly this way. Once you’ve got enough candy, set a Lucky Egg – which will run for 30 minutes – and you’ll get double the XP for every Pokémon evolution. Since you get 500XP for a normal evolution, you’ll get 1000XP while you’re using the lucky egg. You’ll also get 200XP for every one you catch. Using this method, a pathetic little Weedle can net you 1200XP and you’ll hit high levels in no time.
Weedle works best for this method because the amount of candies required to evolve him is the lowest, but any of the most common Pokémon in your area will work just as well. Just be sure to keep an eye on how many Pokéballs you’re using and hit the nearest PokéStop when you start running out.
1 Hitting the gym
The only thing CrossFit and Pokémon have in common is that you need a gym to get stronger. And that it’s all anyone can talk about. Here’s the thing about gym leaders: They will always be the strongest Pokémon, regardless of who put their Pokémon in first. The battle system will also always go from weakest to strongest Pokémon.
In order to take over the gym, you need to defeat the leader more than once, until the prestige of the gym (which you can find in the top left corner of the screen) hits zero. When this happens, the gym is yours.
The amount of Pokémon a gym can take is dependent on the level of the gym so, if you find a friendly gym is full but would like to add your Pokémon, you’ll have to battle there to increase its prestige and level. Even if you lose, you’ll get 100 points towards the gym’s prestige.
If you have a Pokémon in a gym, you can collect rewards in the shop. Look for the shield icon and you’ll collect PokéCoins, Stardust and useful items. You can redeem once every 21 hours for every gym you hold (up to 10).